Toddlers are cute when they are silly and immature. It is okay to be a baby– when you are a baby. But, when you act childishly as an adult, people want you to grow up! Certainly, God wants his children to grow up spiritually.
The Bible tells us frequently of our need to grow deeper in our faith. Hebrews 5:12 says, “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles…” Hebrews 6:1 urges us to “go on to maturity”. You are a spiritual newborn when you trust Christ for salvation. But you are to learn, mature and deepen. You are to grow up.
Note a couple of keys to growing deeper in your faith and maturing in your spiritual life.
1. Growing up takes effort. Effort is involved in Continue reading
Let’s face it. If discipleship was simply finding and following a program, the discipleship dilemma would have been solved long ago. Programs we have. Effective disciplemaking? Not so much.
I appreciate the role of programs in discipleship. They provide needed resources and helpful direction. They can point us down the right path and keep us from theological ditches. But discipleship takes more than a program. Authentic, life changing discipleship needs relationships.
Jesus spent time with people. In particular, he spent time with the 12 disciples. He taught them. He modeled proper behavior for them. He challenged them. Jesus even rebuked them where necessary. His discipleship course was the course of his life lived together with these men.
Perhaps we should see discipleship more like this. It is best done through relationships with other followers of our Lord. Stronger Christ followers helping other Christ followers live the life of Christ could become our model. We could begin to see discipleship as being done best through relationships rather than programs. Programs can be a tool, but relationships are the means.
Here are three reasons to see relationships as more important than programs in discipleship.
1. We need examples. Information Continue reading
I’ve practiced daily devotions for many years now. I spend some time each day (mornings usually work best for me) reading my bible and praying. I read a certain number of chapters of the bible underlining as I go. I spend time praying by praising and thanking God, confessing sin, asking for my needs and praying for the needs of others.
I will tell you that sometimes I don’t feel much like doing that. But feelings are terribly fickle. I rarely feel like exercising or eating healthy or all kinds of things that need to be done. I like the phrase “spiritual disciplines”. I am to discipline myself in my devotional life.
But I will also tell you that feelings often follow discipline. I am glad I exercise and eat right when I do. And I feel especially glad that I regularly spend time in the word and in prayer. The longer I’ve practiced daily devotionals the more I’ve recognized their benefits.
Here are some reasons to value the practice of a devotional life. Continue reading
Posted in bible, bible study, Christianity, discipleship, prayer, Uncategorized
Tagged bible study, Christianity, devotionals, discipleship, faith, life, Prayer, truth
The great need of our day is for genuine revival to come to believers in our nation. I’m delighted to see Ronnie Floyd’s emphasis on revival (sometimes called a “spiritual awakening”) in my own denomination. It is desperately needed.
Revival is specifically about the revived spiritual commitment of those who know Christ as Savior and Lord. While it leads to evangelistic concern (and often an awakening among those who are not saved to their need for salvation) it is specifically about reviving those who have already been “vived”.
Here are some results that will follow a genuine revival should it come to our churches and believers.
1. A deepened love for God and the Continue reading
Posted in revival, spiritual awakening, Uncategorized
Tagged Christian, Christianity, discipleship, Evangelism, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, revival, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth
I’m a land lubber. Never sailed, never rowed more than a lap around a (small) lake. But I recently read two books about water so now I’m kind of an expert.
“The Boys in the Boat” is the story of nine American rowers who won gold in the 1936 Olympics. It is a fascinating story of these young men. But the real fascination was the story of one of the men who grew up under extreme difficulties- death of a young mother, unkind stepmother, father without willingness to intercede. His story is worth the read. And this is a very well written book.
The second book is Continue reading
Posted in books, perseverance, Uncategorized
Tagged book, Christian, Christianity, discipleship, faith, God, perseverance, Religion and Spirituality, spiritual growth
The church where I was saved many years ago just bought 500 copies of my devotional book “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith”. They are going to use it for a church wide series beginning the week after Easter. Many churches have used the book that way now, but there is a special connection you have with the church where you gave your life to Christ.
I trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord in the old worship center at Continue reading
Posted in books, Christianity, Church, faith, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, bible, bible study, book, Christian, christian book, Christianity, church, devotional, devotional book, discipleship, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, local church, Religion and Spirituality, southern baptist convention, spiritual growth
Once in a while, I ask our church to fast. I doubt it is the most popular request I make. But many tell me of the spiritual significance of their fasting. So here is a brief overview of fasting.
What it isn’t-
1. Fasting isn’t a weight loss program. You lose muscle and replace it with fat when the fast is over. There are better ways to lose weight. I have no idea what those ways are, but I’m sure they are out there.
2. Fasting isn’t a hunger strike. It isn’t a way to bully God into Continue reading
Posted in Christianity, fasting, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, Christian, Christianity, deeper faith, discipleship, faith, fasting, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, spiritual disciplines
If you want to grow deeper in your Christian faith I recommend the following.
1. Read big chunks of the bible. Read the entire bible for yourself several times. It will take several times through to really begin to put it all together and see the big picture well- but it will be worth it.
2. Memorize some scripture verses. Be strict about it (best said with a German accent- roll the “r” on “strict”). Get it exactly right, word for word. This will force you to really know the verse.
3. Pray all the time. That is, pray every time you think about it. Have an attitude of prayer.
4. Pray systematically. Pray for specific Continue reading
Posted in bible, Christianity, discipleship, prayer, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, Christian, Christianity, church, deeper faith, discipleship, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, small groups, spiritual growth, worship, worship attendance
I would like to be more God centered this year. Instead of having God on the periphery, wouldn’t it be better if God was at the center of our lives? Here is a bit of what that might look like.
1. A God centered life loves obedience. God is really big on the whole holiness thing. No compromise on this one. It matters deeply to him and should to those of us who follow him. If I am not obeying God, he isn’t at the center of my life. I’ve put him over in a corner and maybe taken him out on Sunday mornings, but he isn’t at the center of my life unless I am obeying what he tells me to do. This year I want to obey what God tells me to do through the Bible and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
2. A God centered life seeks God’s will. The core question isn’t really what you want to do. The most important issue is what God wants you to do. Wise is the Christian who wants God’s will more than his or her own. After all, God is smarter than us (some make that easier on God than others), knows the Continue reading
My wife recently posted her 10 most influential books. (She put my books on her list. Danger of nepotism?) So, here is my stab at my most influential. (Not counting my own. Danger of ridicule?) And, I’ve doubled and trebled up to get in some more. And, I’m leaving out some books that ought to get me banned from libraries and sitting rooms as penance.
1. The Bible. I read through the bible every year at least once and have for many years. It is more thrilling to me every year and is the foundation for my faith and my life. It is really 66 books, of course, but I’ll count it as one for this. If you haven’t read it yet, try starting with John and then Acts. Finish the New Testament a couple of times and then read the entire book.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This is a 7 book set. It is lots of fun to get lost in them. Very easy reading. I love the spiritual connection and the fun. I read them to my children and look forward to reading them to my grandchildren. And, add to this Mere Christianity (Lewis’s best non-fiction, I think) and The Screwtape Letters (tremendous insights into our spiritual battles) by Lewis. A serious Christian thinker not reading Mere Christianity is sort of like a serious student of English novels never reading A Tale of Two Cities–these things ought not to be done.
3. Trilogy of the Civil War by Shelby Foote. These three Continue reading
Posted in books, Christianity, education, history, revival, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, book, Christian, Christianity, deeper faith, devotional book, discipleship, God, Immersed, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, revival, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth